Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I made cajeta over the weekend.
The buttery, caramal-y, awesome-y decadent goodness of cajeta must be experienced...it just can't be explained!
Wikipedia tries.

Check this out:
Oozy, gooey, yummy deliciousness in a homemade caramel sauce!
Drizzle it on cinnamon buns, over oatmeal or fruit, a little drizzled in yogurt or your morning cup of coffee...over ice cream, over a slice of cake...it is AMAZING!!!

The recipe is simple enough.
1 gallon of goats milk (unpasteurized, please!)
1 vanilla bean (broken and halved lengthwise) or 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
4 cups white cane sugar OR brown grated sugar (the hard sugar cones you get at Mexican grocers)
1 teaspoon of baking soda (to prevent foaming)
2/3 cup water
Stir that all together and heat until simmering. DO NOT STIR IT AGAIN! (If you do, you *break* the mixture and it will not process properly)
Now walk away. Don't stir it, don't even think about it...for at least 10 hours. That's right, it has to simmer UNDISTURBED for 10 to 12 HOURS.
After around 10 hours, you can look at it. If it has cooked down well, the simmering should still be going on, but the bubbles should be breaking slower...you should see that it has turned to caramel.
My stove is kinda slow, so I simmered mine for 12 hours.
Do a spoon and saucer test.
Dip a spoon into the simmering mixture and watch how it sheets and drips off the spoon. Is it thick and drips slow?
Put a spoonful on a saucer and let it cool for 15 minutes. It should thicken even more when it is cool.
Taste it. Is the texture right? (The flavor will be awesome!)
If everything seems right, pour into canning jars and put on lids and let cool.
If you used actual vanilla bean and not extract, pour through a sieve to catch the bean pieces.

Time consuming, yes. Worth it? OH YES!
My 1 gallon of goats milk made 2 quarts of cajeta.
I gave some to my neighbor (she is Mexican) to get an unbiased opinion. Actually, I figured she would be most critical because her mother used to make cajeta for special holidays, etc.
She LOVED it! Said it was just as good as her mother's!
Now THAT'S a compliment!

The cactus flowers are still in bloom here...finally getting the hang of the camera...
The whole cactus (and it is a large one) should be an explosion of hot pink flowers by the end of the week or so...will try to get some more pictures when it hits peak bloomage!
STILL no rain here! (I think it's 115 days now!)
Lost a hell of a lot of my garden due to dust storms, heat and the absolute dryness, even though I am watering them nightly.
A dry warm wind blows even at night here.I am thinking I need to mulch like crazy and maybe water once after dark and then again right before sunrise. (Hey, I am already up then anyway!)

I am going to try to replant some this week...maybe if I continuously plant, some of my plants will make it through!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Holiday Weekend

Memorial Day looms dead ahead and the fella has a five day weekend (WOOO-HOOOO!). I am letting him sleep in (as well as the Girl), BUT there are some major things that need doing that I will require their assistance on.
The Boy is currently away from home, so he isn't included in the festivities.
First things first...
We have a dryer. It was here when I arrived, so I take no blame for it. It doesn't work anyway, so all it is doing is taking up valuable floor space in the laundry room. My plan is to get it moved out of there and into the shed (we have a storage shed), so we can possibly find a good used apartment sized refrigerator to put in that spot. It will prove invaluable for the goat milk, cheese and egg overflow for our regular refrigerator.
Ugh...the storage shed. We sooooo need to clean that out! Might as well put that on the list of "to-do" things as well.
I also plan on us cleaning up the yard today.
The wind blows so much here. Even if I pick up every day all the stuff that blows into the yard, I wake up with more stuff to pick up! I also want to trim some dead branches off the few trees in the yard, just to make them look a bit neater.
Planning on working on my raised bed gardens as well. Going to plant some more seeds and hope for the best. This super dry weather/climate, is wreaking havoc on my seedlings, so I try to keep seeds started to fill in where my seedlings perish. I water, I use manure tea, I try to shelter my poor seedlings with mulch, etc., but I am still having about a 50% die-off. I thought it was just me and my inexperience at desert gardening, but I talked to a few gardening neighbors and they told me 50% was actually pretty good! Most of them confess to a 70% or so die-off, despite their best efforts!

I am struggling with the camera...I got some stupid virus n my computer and had to reboot and reset so many things and use anti-virus measures just to get my system back to some semblance of normality. Then I tried to upload some pictures I took of the gorgeous cactus flowers in my yard...and....nothing. I swear I pushed all the right buttons, but nothing happens! So, I will work on that today, too, and hopefully you'll get to see some pictures of bright pink flowering cactus!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


The storms in the Midwest have been my focus this week. I have been glued to the tv watching the news coverage and at my computer getting updates.
I used to live in Joplin and have several friends there. I left around 3 years ago to move to Beaumont, but I have stayed in touch via phone and computer.
I watched the news coverage in dismay...so much damage, so many deaths. A business I had worked at...leveled. The school my kids went to...gone.My old neighborhood...wiped off the map.
It took a few days, but friends back in Joplin finally let me know they were okay. WHEW!!! I do have one friend I haven't been able to locate, but I am optimistic, as where she lives was not in the path.

The tragedy in Joplin is still unfolding. Many people are still missing. Homes and businesses destroyed.
I can barely imagine what the people there are going through.
My family went through a few tornadoes while we lived there, but nothing of the magnitude of last Sundays storm.

So, I know from experience that when those sirens go off, there is damn little you can do other than dive into a basement, a bathtub, a closet and hold on for dear life.

One thing that has not been addressed is the lead in and around Joplin. The entire city was once considered one of the worst EPA clean-up areas. So much lead in the very soil, that the EPA had people go in to scrap the topsoil off the yards, put down a special cloth to stabilize the remaining soil and then trucked in *safe* soil to cover over yards and parks and schoolyards, etc. I imagine the EPA will be making a return trip as Joplin is rebuilding to test soil and take precautionary measures.

Anyway, if you pray, pray for the people in Joplin. If you don't pray, at least send good thoughts their way.

Friday, May 20, 2011

106 and counting....

It has been 106 days since El Paso has gotten rain.
Gardens require daily watering.
Animals are coming down out of the mountains in their desperation for water and food. Last week a mountain lion was shot in town at a car wash.
Coyotes are wandering our neighborhood almost every night. The goats get hysterical, of course, when they smell or hear them, so I frequently find myself getting out of bed in the wee hours to check on our animals.
Two nights ago, I saw a large male coyote trying to get over the fence into the yard.
One nerve-wracking thing is that they have found many of the coyotes in this area are actually cross bred with Mexican wolves (a smaller variety than a timber wolf) which makes them less fearful and more aggressive.
The large male that was trying to scale our fence was definitely not fearful of me. He stared right at me and didn't run (okay, he loped) until after our dogs went after him!
The county has a bounty on coyotes and I wish I could have shot that coyote! There were 5 or 6 other coyotes with him, so I suppose that's his pack.
They were certainly interested in our goats and the chickens! Folks that live further out than we do have told me that coyotes have been making forays into their yards and chicken coops, etc.
A lot of small pets have come up missing recently, too. Cats, small dogs, that sort of thing. Our dogs are larger and they sleep inside (yet another reason to properly house train pets!), but they will wake us up if they hear a noise outside.
The county is also reminding people to have their dogs shots (rabies especially) up-to-date.  I suspect, that with as many wild animals coming down from the mountains, there may be an upswing in rabies in our area.
Coyotes and other predators can spread other diseases besides rabies, too. So, a darn good reason for keeping the shots for your dogs and cats that wander outside up to date!
I do hope it rains soon.  I am watering my little box gardens faithfully, but the absolute complete dryness beyond dryness is not treating them well. I despair over my tomato plants and I am afraid my cabbage and bok choy may not make it.
Hay prices have sky-rocketed around here.We give the goats alfalfa and the fella was able to get 20 bales a couple of weeks ago and he is trying to find 20 more bales, but people are holding on to what they have pretty tightly. Several local small farm type folks are thinking of driving to New Mexico or even Arizona to get a good sized load at good prices. He looked into prices in central Texas and east Texas, but the prices there are almost as bad as they are here.New Mexico is only two miles away from us, so the trip to get hay from there would be faster and closer.
In the meantime, I have heard from family and friends back East that the rain there has totally bogged down all the fields and farmers have still not gotten all the hay fields planted. In past years it would be mid-June when they got their first cutting!
 Gardens are a bit water-logged for those folks, too. One friend back east said she has had to start over on her tomato and pepper plants as roots have rotted from her garden being inundated with so much rain.
I guess all we can  hope for is good fall gardens at this point!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Things Are Tough All Over

It's rough out there.
The economy has tanked. Not is going to tank or will soon tank, it HAS tanked.
The US has hit it's credit limit. Congress has 11 weeks to raise that limit or risk another recession/depression.
Read about it here
You know, when an average person hits their credit limit, the local bank or credit union tells them "Nope, no more. You have to pay off your debts---or at least put a substantial dent in them before we will even think about giving you more credit."
Apparently, governments do not operate the same way. They run up more and more bills and figure our children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren, etc. will be able to pay the bills.

Crops this year will not be the greatest. State wide droughts in some areas, state wide flooding in others have rendered a lot of cropland in the US useless or close to it this growing season.
Estimates I have read places the losses at astronomical levels.
1/5 of the rice crop (in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas), gone due to flooding.
Possible 1/4 of the this years wheat and corn crop gone.
Ranchers having to slaughter herds of cattle and flocks of sheep due to lack of hay to feed them and the high price of corn. Some of the big pig farms in the mid-west considering culling their herds...and some have already started.

If you have the funds, get a freezer as I suspect the supermarkets will have a lot of meat specials in the next few months.
Add more rice, wheat and corn to your food storage if you have the funds.
Buy specials when and where you can and get that pressure canner and dehydrator going!
There was a special at our supermarket last week on spinach...fresh and frozen!
I loaded up on both and we have been enjoying nice fresh salads and various spinach dishes.
Last night I fixed a Greek dinner and spinach was one of the stars of the meal...everyone loved the dish and asked for seconds...and thirds! Yes! Teenagers loving spinach!

Greek Spinach
1 pound fresh spinach or 1 pack frozen--thawed out and drained til dry as possible
1 teaspoon minced garlic--or one clove minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 or 3 fresh mushrooms, sliced thin (optional--I had a few I got from the MUST SELL NOW! cart in the produce section...they were cheap and didn't look too bad)
Sesame seeds for garnish
Melt butter in pan, add olive oil and minced garlic and saute for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach and mushrooms and cook, stirring often until fresh spinach is wilted or frozen spinach is heated through.
Put in serving bowl and sprinkle a teaspoon of sesame seeds on top for garnish
Serve hot.

Like I said, everyone loved it! It is such an easy recipe, too.

The Greek dinner I fixed was cheap and easy.
Home made pita bread ( Here's the recipe I use )
1/2 cup yogurt mixed with 1 cup diced up peeled cucumber
Home made feta cheese
Shredded lettuce
Chopped artichoke hearts (I use canned ones I got on sale)
Greek beef in sauce ( I used about a pound of steak, cut in bite sized pieces, seared in butter, added 1/2 teaspoon of powdered cloves, 1 teaspoon onion powder,1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, pepper, garlic powder, a bit of salt, 3/4 cup water...cooked it in that --covered--for about a half hour, then added 1/2 cup water mixed with 2 tablespoons corn starch to thicken, stirred until thick, then served)
With the spinach it was a healthy and filling and tasty meal for all.
I know...no black olives...sigh. But they were jst not in the budget this month!
I try to stretch our food budget as much as possible. I buy meat, veggies (fresh, frozen and canned), pasta, etc on sale as often as possible while still feeding the family healthy meals.
Dessert here is a rarity...and when I do serve dessert, it usually is fresh fruit or yogurt and fresh fruit.
Thank goodness for the goats and chickens! I haven't had to buy eggs in ages and the goats milk provides yogurt and sour cream and milk for drinking and baking. I have recently started making cheese and have successfully made feta cheese and a nice soft goat cheese that I enhanced with the addition of fresh herbs.
Going to try for ice cream this weekend, I think. I have not been able to make butter yet from goats milk, but am still trying!
We only use butter here. I simply hate the taste and texture of margarine *shudder*. Margarine is simply nasty!  That is one item on my shopping list I cannot compromise on! Before anyone gets ruffled about fat content, etc., I find that I use far less butter than most people use margarine. Butter has a better *mouth feel* as the food experts say, less is needed to give an intense taste and the natural fat (as opposed to the plastic tasting margarine)gives a silkier texture that is more satisfying. I am sure a lot of my readers have that *one item* they draw the line at, too! Heh-heh...my mom has one brand of sliced ham she will eat...and no other! She can tell a generic brand from *her* brand at 50 feet, lol!
One of my sons has been going through a rough patch and it weighs heavily on my heart.
He had a good job, but it was hurting his health.The stress was high and the hours were horribly long (80+ hours a week) and because he worked such a long schedule, most of his meals were of the *grab and go* variety. At age 30, he was having what the hospital was calling *heart events*. His blood pressure sky-rocketed and repeated visits to the doctor ended up with the doctor telling him that either he would have to quit, or face the very real probability of dying young from a heart attack. So, he quit the job and got the rest the doctor ordered, along with medication, exercise and a diet change. Thankfully, he is doing MUCH better. He dropped the weight the doctor told him to drop, his blood pressure dropped and dropped until it was hovering at the right levels (whew!).
That part was good.
But being without a job was bad.
He gave up and cut corners as much as humanly possible. He sold everything he had that was possible to sell. Still, he got behind on his car note, so, sadly, he took his car back to the bank.
Happily, he has now found a job...a job with normal hours, a lot less stress and a fairly okay (if lower) paycheck. He has gone back to school (local college with online courses) to get a degree so that his employment future will be brighter.
Some friends have been giving him a ride to work, but that ends in about a week.
This all leads to:
My son needs a bicycle.The bicycle would be used for him to get to and from work and to attend those classes where he is required to show up at the school.
He is a large guy (6 ft 10in), so a normal little Schwinn from Wal-Mart just won't work. He has found a bicycle and negotiated a price, but needs a little help.
I have emptied out my paltry bank account to help him out and he is still a little short.
If any of my readers has just $5 they can send him, it would be greatly appreciated.
Greg Moore
1331 Woodrow St
Shreveport, La 71103

I know it sounds awful asking this way, but he is at the end of his rope, I am at the end of mine and I can't help him anymore until the first of the month when the fella gets paid, and even then it is going to be tight around here. I just couldn't think of any thing else to do.
I figured that 5 bucks was not a lot to ask and if just 10 or 12 people respond, that would be enough to get Greg *over the hump*. If there is any excess funds, it won't go to waste, he'll put it towards his college courses.
Thanks to anyone that can help.
BTW, my son has no clue I am doing this...and will probably be annoyed at me when he finds out.
I guess I am just a mama that won't give up being a mama and fighting for my kids in any way I can.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Losing My Mind...and Losing Posts!

I thanked the wrong person for the gift of my new camera (cringe)...Kellie, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
I will chalk it up to sleep deprivation, old age and knowing W-A-A-A-A-Y too many Kellies/Kelles/Kelly's !
I am soooo sorry, Kellie!
Blogger ate some of my posts in it's most recent *hiccup*, as well as several comments. Arrrrggghhh!

So, a quick recap...
The fella's deployment:
We don't know.
The soonest we WILL know is the second week in June. The latest is July 1st.
Lots of gardening this weekend...hopefully I can post some pictures of that later today!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

DIY Project

Remember the (ugly) glass tabletop that broke here?
I replaced it by getting some plywood and using some old floor tiles we had laying around.
I promised to post the result as soon as I had a camera...
 I ran out of tiles the right size, so I broke some up and made the mosaic on either side of the center tile.
I need to re-grout it---may do that today.
What 'cha think?

Pictures, YAY!!!!

A HUGE thank you to Kelle at The Never Done Farm for her gift of a camera she wasn't using. Trust me, Kelle, it will be used here and used often.Edited to add: WRONG KELLE! I meant to thank Kellie...I am soooo sorry Kellie! Sleep deprivation and 4 different Kelle's Kellie's, Kelly's on my blog list and my friends lists and I get confused easily...byt the way, Kelles blog mentioned above is a good'un. KELLIE (the camera gifter) has a blog at Kaijafons Herbal Mutterings, another at Kaijafons Tidbits and yet another at Kaijafons Stories  (good stories, too!)
Of course, I am not a tech whiz, so there's a bit of a learning curve here, but I am catching on!
A few pictures for your viewing enjoyment...
This is Cloris, our new little doe!
Wang and Geordi in the bachelor pen!
Siona, my watch dog, watching tv! Hey, her favorite show was on Animal Planet! (She loves "It's Me or the Dog"!
Andy, in his "Hannibal" muzzle, ready for sleep. He wears the muzzle at night to prevent him from chewing up everything. He is still able to drink water with the muzzle on, so this is not cruel treatment.

I am still learning the operations of the camera...and it does videos, too. Haven't quite figured that out, but I hope to today!

In other news...I made sour cream last night! I skimmed the cream off of one the freshest jar of goat milk, put it in a sour cream container that had just a smidge of sour cream left in the bottom, stirred it together, added just the tiniest bit of a rennet tablet (about an eighth of a tablet) and let it set overnight, covered and on the counter. This morning it had gelled just enough, I stirred it up really, really well and then tasted. YUM!

We are having a Greek Feast this weekend, so today I start making Greek yogurt and some fresh herbed goat cheese. I'll make pita bread on Friday, so Saturday, I'll have everything but the meat prepped or made.

I love pre-planning a meal like that! Tonight I am making a Korean duck soup.
The Darlin' Man splurged and bought a duck for me to fix for Mothers Day. (He knows I ADORE duck!) So, since he had to work Sunday, I fixed it Monday. Plenty of meat, and more importantly, skin left!

So, yesterday I boiled the duck carcass (AFTER carefully removing all the skin!) with carrots, onions and celery. When the duck was falling completely apart, I strained it (saving all the broth). I put the broth in the fridge and picked all the meat out of the boiled carcass. The boiled veggies went to the chickens.
Everything (broth, skin, duck meat) sat in the fridge overnight.
This morning, I removed the (now solidified) duck fat from the broth (I put it in a jar, more about that later).
I diced up the duck meat and put it in the broth. Sliced up celery, onions and carrots and put them in broth. Added 2 tablespoons of bean paste for flavor. Also diced up 2 cloves of garlic and put that in broth, along with 1 teaspoon of ground ginger (out of fresh ginger...darnit). That pot is sitting in the fridge, I'll bring it to a boil and then simmer it for about 1/2 hour before serving. Right before serving, I place about around 3/4 of a cup of fresh shredded spinach in the simmering broth....just long enough for the spinach to wilt
I will put the duck skin on a baking sheet and crisp it up about 1/2 hour before serving. (In oven, 350 degrees)
To pull the whole dish together, I will boil up some soba noodles, cool them, place them in bowls and ladle over them the hot duck soup. For a finishing touch, I'll place a few slices of crisp duck skin on top and scatter some sliced green onions on top.

I fixed this soup after our Christmas duck feast and everyone loved it. It is one of my very favorite dishes, I just don't get to fix it very often. It sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn't if you break down the steps and space them out. It makes my heart happy when-ever I cook it because it is so good and I know it is healthy and everyone loves it so much!

Monday, May 9, 2011


My cheese-making continues...I found a simple recipe for making feta cheese from goats milk, so I decided to try it. I am supposed to let it cure in the brine for a week to 4 weeks, but I tasted it before brining and after it had been in the brine for 24 hours.
The flavor wasn't quite developed, but it had a wonderful texture and was not falling apart or dissolving in the brine (both signs of a bad batch).
I am planning a Greek feast next weekend as I think the flavor should be developed by then.
Mothers Day went well...I heard from most of my herd, lol! The Darlin' Man got called into work rather abruptly this morning and had to work all day and overnight as well. *pout* So, I decided to not cook the dinner I had planned and the Girl and I made tacos and chicken strips. The Boy is spending tonight with a friend and going in from there to school in the morning.
Right now I am waging a war against the cutest little mice you ever saw. We have these adorable little desert mice out here that look like they came straight out of a Disney movie. Wee things with soft gray fur, bright black eyes and tiny ears.In a Disney movie they would be soooo cute. On my kitchen counter...not so much. The Darlin' Man picked up a dozen mouse traps for me and I have been baiting them with various food items to lure the small creatures to a swift and merciful death. Best bait so far....peanut butter + Nutella. They will line up for it, practically fighting one another to get in the trap! Last night I caught two mice in the same trap at the same time. I guess a midnight meal for two seemed romantic at the time.
The mice migrated over here from a neighbors home. That house had been condemned and the residents evicted and when they left, the mice decided to wander through the neighborhood to find a new place. We, and the other neighbors, have all been battling them for the past month. Because we have dogs, I chose not to go with poison. Also, if the mice die behind a wall or in the duct-work, the smell would be horrendous!
Well, the real estate search goes on. So far, three properties look promising. All within the same school district, much to the kids relief. Near a lot of recreational areas for fishing, swimming, skiing in winter, etc.
For my purposes, the properties are also near a couple of touristy areas where I could sell my quilts and baskets, etc. during the tourist season. All three properties are at least 10 acres, so there would be ample room to garden, raise livestock, etc. We also have one of the Darlin' Mans relatives who lives in Vermont looking locally. Unfortunately, they live in a yuppie-ish gated community with an HOA and a lot of restrictions and they seem to think that's the best type of property to get! EEK! Sorry, but we don't have, nor do we want to spend a quarter of a million dollars on a "McMansion"! Not our style at all. I think we have been able to finally get through to them what we want, though.
Still no word on deployment. Still waiting and waiting and waiting...while the paperwork slowly wanders through the military snarl. The Darlin' Man has a sit down meeting scheduled this week, so we are kinda hoping we'll get a definitive answer then. That way we'll know whether to push forward on our moving plans, or whether we can settle here for a while longer. Either way, we have to be prepared.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

(Mentally) Regrouping

Well, after the news that my Darlin' Man may be heading back to Iraq, we have had to mentally regroup and shift some plans around.
The consensus is that we would be better off establishing ourselves on property in Vermont while he is away.
Even the Girl, who will be a senior next year, has enthusiastically agreed we should move...and the sooner, the better! (She somewhat hates the schools here..they teach to ALL students as if English was their second language, which for 90% of the students is true) Girl, Boy and I looked online and checked out the schools in the district we think we are moving to, and they were very pleased. The entire student body of the local high school is one tenth of the size of the student body here. No football team...but they have skiing teams for boys and girls--J.V. and Varsity. Soccer and baseball and hockey as well. Basketball teams for boys and girls, too. Since it is a rural area, they have almost 100% participation in 4-H! We also checked SAT scores, etc and the school is very solid academically with over 50% of graduating seniors going on to college, university or technical schools.

I contacted a realtor I found up there. He mainly works as a buyers agent. The way it works is I gave him all the *must haves* for property we are looking for and he goes through all the MLS listings to find a property that meets our needs. He sends me the information on all the properties that the Darlin' Man and I think are within our budget and meet our needs. We look over all the info (photos, plat maps, google maps/views, listing info, deeds, tax papers, etc) and decide which properties we will consider. When time comes to buy, the buyers agent will negotiate the best price for us and handle all the paperwork.
The *Must Haves* for us?
Minimum of 5 acres
Water source on property, preferably more than one...a drilled well AND a brook or spring AND a stream, etc.
Electricity already to or on property. (anybody that ever has had to have electricity brought to their property knows why we put this down!)
No restrictions on livestock, etc.
We also gave him a price cap. Actually two price caps---one for bare land, one for land with a home on it.

We have been pleasantly surprised that in our area of choice, the realtor has been able to find around a dozen properties that meet our needs.
So, we are winnowing through all the properties and cutting our choices down to 5 or 6. One of us will go up to Vermont in June and make the final decision.

In the meantime, we are waiting for the final word on whether or not the Darlin' Mans orders for deployment are 100%. Right now, he still has a 10% chance of staying stateside, but like I said, nobody here is holding their breath over that. We should find out Friday. So, Army life being what it is, the old adage of "Hurry up and wait!" really applies in this situation!
Today I am making cheese from our goat's milk. I started this morning and the milk made a lovely curd that I have been draining almost all day. Tonight I will be salting the drained curd and making some feta cheese and some hard cheese that I will put in a maleshift cheese press. Will let y'all know how that goes!
I intend to keep posting throughout the moving process here...since we have 3 cars, 7 goats, 2 children, 11 chickens, 2 dogs and all our worldly possessions...should be a fun time!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Well, my posting schedule for this blog has officially been trashed! So many things happening that a regular schedule is now impossible.
The Darlin' Man has been informed that he will be deployed in August of this year to Iraq. He IS fighting it and trying to stay stateside, but it is 90% certain he will have to go.
We must take the attitude that he will be going and prepare for that likelihood.
So, our next decision is: Where do the kids and I stay or go to during said deployment?
We can stay here...no family members nearby, but the base is here with all the advantages that provides.
We can move to Vermont---where we planned to retire to anyway, and rent, lease to own or buy property/a house.Also, the Darlin' Man has family there.
We can move to some other area of the country where he or I have family near-by.
We discussed it with the kids (they are 17 and 15) to get their imput and discussed it with each other.
The consensus is that Vermont will probably be our best bet.
So, I am currently conducting a long distance real estate search in a specific area of Vermont trying to find a place for us to move to.
We have very specific parameters for each scenario:
If we lease to own or buy, the property MUST have:
10+ acres
Water (spring, drilled well already in place, year round stream/brook)
Be suitable for organic gardening and livestock raising.
No HOAs, restrictions, etc on property.

If we rent the property MUST have:
No HOAs, restrictions
Must allow pets
Have a garden space
3+ bedrooms

We may be able to buy land and just drop a mobile home or modular home on it. We'll build our dream home after the fella gets back. In the meantime (in this scenario), I can build outbuildings, get some chickens and maybe a couple of pigs

I have already identified a few properties and contacted some local Realtors in Vermont to make inquiries.
The kids have taken an interest in the areas we sowed them and are checking out local schools, local recreational activities, etc.
So, now you know why I have been absent from my blog and what I have been doing!
Our timeline on this will be VERY tight. The Darlin' Man finds out within the next week if he will be deployed (absolute 100% certainty). We are hoping for the 10% chance he'll be able to stay stateside this round, but not holding our collective breath here. This is not his first deployment, so he knows the odds.
When he finds out, all arrangements and the move will have to be completed by the second week in August!
I will try to keep up on posting here, and let my readers know if the deployment becomes set in stone. I'll be posting about the strange journey it is to find real estate long distance...how we will decide on a place (probably sight unseen---eek!) and the logistics of moving...and the move will include our preps and most likely at least one goat! (Oh, won't that be fun!?!?)